Thursday, May 26, 2011

Preparing to be Overwhelmed

The following post is from Tiffany from Sept. 5, 2010. It followed a difficult discussion with our dr.s when she was in the hospital and they started talking to us about a lung transplant for the first time. The post pretty much sums up how I am viewing this next week -- our wedding anniversary, the six month anniversary since her passing, and going back to her graveside for the first time since the weeks following her death. I am not sure what all the week will bring but I must simply do what Tiffany says in the last paragraph. 

“Do you ever have days where you are overwhelmed? Where you reach the end of your rope and feel like saying “no more-I can’t deal with this”?  For me, the past couple of days have been at this spot.  There were several events that just tipped the balance-not one of them was that huge but connected all together they made for something that just was too much.

I am so thankful for my hubby-he knew I was struggling.  He graciously cleared the room and just came and sat and held me.  There were tears (sometimes those are healing in and of themselves), questions, and venting; then a choice to rest in what God is doing-acknowledging that none of these things were a surprise to him-they had not caught him off guard. It did not make the struggles disappear and there have still been “it’s too much” moments.  

I am sure that we have not experienced the last of the overwhelming moments, however I pray that in those moments I will be faithful to respond in faith, trusting the One who is walking, shepherding me through them.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

False Guilt - The Application

So I have been trying to decide how transparent I want to be with this last post in regards to false guilt as I have written these posts as much for me as for other people who may be facing it. Living life whether you have CF in your life or not is filled with many difficulties some of our own making and many that we never asked for. I would like to share at least one very personal application of dealing with false guilt. 

Tiffany and I very openly discussed the end of life issues as we knew that we would likely face them sooner or later and end of life issues are very difficult. Tiffany’s last hospital stay was very unusual compared to her other stays as we were treating new things and the real culprit (MRSA) did not show itself early or very often. I am a person that asks a lot of questions and doesn’t just buy in immediately to every course of treatment.  I have a healthy respect for Dr.s and their opinions, but I am also very cautious of residents especially the first year ones. Because of their past mistakes we would rarely move forward without the primary Dr.s signing off on it or us confirming a course of action with our CF team. Consequently, this delays responses when a resident sees something on the weekend and wants to make all these changes to Tiffany’s treatment plan and wants to make all these changes without taking the time to get to know her. I pushed back quite a bit because they didn’t seem to know what they were talking about, but Tiffany and I could tell that something had changed internally. We made some difficult decisions over the weekend without the primary docs and some decisions were put off that looking back I don’t know if they were the best decisions as it seemed to allow the MRSA to come back even more. By the time we made it to ICU 24 hours later the MRSA had set in with a vengeance once again. We then had to make decisions about what we would or would not do with treatment specifically was Tiffany wanting to go on the ventilator. We had basically decided that if it gave her a fighting chance for the drugs to work or if it was needed to keep her alive till all of her family got in then we would do it, but we did not want to do it if it was going to only delay the inevitable. The Dr.s opinions was that it would only delay the inevitable and that if she went on it she would not come off of it. The evidence of the MRSA spreading was evident, and Tiffany could feel her body shutting down. 

It is hard now looking back and wondering what if we would have made those treatment changes quicker or would she have had a fighting chance if she would have gone on the ventilator and a whole host of questions follow. It would be very easy for me to live in false guilt wondering if I did everything right for Tiffany, did we do everything we could to fight the CF, did I make the right decisions. So I go back to the solution to false guilt realizing that this battle is a battle of the mind that can either lead to depression or can lead to trusting in God’s design for our life. The reality is that Tiffany and I have always been very aggressive in treating CF and we could only make decisions with the information that we had, and I believe that we made good decisions with the information and the circumstances that we had. Knowing that our identity and life was in Christ, Tiffany did not fear death, and I know that she is with Christ. Because we had the hard conversations before we were placed in the end of life situations, I know that we made decisions that were consistent with Tiffany’s desires and based on good information from the docs. Was it hard to watch Tiffany pass away as I held her hand, yes it was, but I can also look back at that last week of her life and rest in God’s plan for her life and for my life and not live in false guilt. Tiffany did not pass away because we did something wrong -- Tiffany passed away because it was God’s design for her life.  We often prayed for God’s will and that is exactly what God accomplished. I don’t have to live in false guilt questioning our decisions; I have to live trusting my God. That means I don’t spend my nights playing the what if game but rather I spend my nights meditating on my God and what Tiffany is enjoying in the presence of my God.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Living Between a Heritage and a Legacy

The following is my tribute to my mother-in-law, a mom living between her heritage and her legacy. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, I thought that this would be a fitting entry.

You see, my mother-in-law is a woman who has impacted my life in a great way. Over the course of the last 16 years that I have known her, she has taught me much. Over the course of the last couple of years, we have learned much together as we spent many hours caring for Tiffany and simply enjoying life as a family. In the last year, my love and respect for my mother-in-law has grown even more as I have watched her live through a very difficult time of life as she experienced the death of her daughter and her mom within six weeks of each other. Within six weeks her legacy and her heritage came together in Heaven. 

The Heritage that she had in her mother is a rich heritage. Her mother was a kind and gracious woman who passed on to my mother-in-law many of the needed traits she would need to live through the life that God had called her to live. She was faithful to her God, her husband, and her family throughout her life. She was a genteel woman who graciously served her God and her family. It is a Heritage worth emulating and a Heritage that should never be forgotten. 

The Legacy that she has in her daughter is an unfathomable legacy. By that it is one that is hard to understand. Usually your legacy is what you leave behind once you are gone, but Mom’s legacy went ahead to glory first. Although we all make our own decisions, one’s children many times is an indictment upon you. Mom’s legacy, my wife, is an indictment that speaks volumes about my mother-in-law. I got to see up close the impact that Tiffany’s mom had upon her life and how she lived with Cystic Fibrosis. Tiffany’s desire to not quit, to not make excuses, to trust in God, to keep living, to invest in the eternal, to pursue excellence, to love music, to love her husband and her family, and her gracious spirit towards people and life’s difficulties is a legacy to the life of my mother-in-law. It reveals a woman who lived that out in front of Tiffany through it all. Tiffany and I in the last couple years of her life would often laugh about how much she was becoming her mom whether it was how she wrote, spoke, or viewed life. Many fear that their wife may become their mother-in-law--Me, I welcomed it!

So Mom, on this day that you remember your Heritage and your Legacy, know that you have forever changed my life. I am privileged to have walked this way with you. I love you and am thankful that today I can say Happy Mother’s Day as your Heritage and your Legacy are getting to worship our Savior face to face. Although they are not with us today, they are with the King of kings. Your Heritage will never be forgotten and your Legacy will always be loved!